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Summary: God is great.

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GOD IS GREAT!

I Corinthians 1:18-25

S: Cross

Th: Live the Difference

Pr: GOD IS GREAT.

?: What? What makes God great?

KW: Descriptions

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 18-25, five descriptions that explain the greatness of God to us.

The _____ description is that…

I. GOD IS NOT OUTWITTED (19)

II. GOD IS WITHOUT COMPARISON (20)

III. GOD IS UNKNOWN BY MAN’S ATTEMPTS (21)

IV. GOD WORKS HIS OWN PLAN (22-23)

V. GOD SAVES THE BELIEVER (24)

Version: ESV

RMBC 18 January 04 AM

INTRODUCTION:

Have you ever observed that some people aren’t so smart?

ILL Notebook: Stupid (more evidence)

Listen to these examples…

When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.

Well, individuals can demonstrate their lack of smarts, but it is not limited to individuals.

It can happen to businesses as well.

For example…

A company was trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record by showing its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to the Industrial Machinery News, the film’s depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, one man required seven stitches after he cut his chin falling off a chair while watching the film.

But there is more.

For only government leaders could come up with the next example…

The Chico City Council, in California, enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within the city limits.

Well, some people are just not as smart as they think they are.

But actually, in today’s text, this is not just a problem for others.

It is a problem that we all have.

TRANSITION:

A few weeks ago, we began our study of I Corinthians.

And…

1. As we study the first letter to the Corinthians, we are being challenged to “Live the Difference.”

We are being challenged to live differently than the rest of the world.

To be more specific, we are being challenged to live lives that are characterized by holiness.

God calls on us to live righteously.

And He calls on us to live righteously in the context of the church.

2. Last week, we noted that the oneness of the church was essential.

We, as Christians, are different because of our oneness.

And this was a specific problem that Paul was speaking to.

There were factions in the church, each one setting themselves up as superior to the others.

But Paul points to the solution.

It is unity.

And it is at the cross that we find this unity.

He said in the closing verse of our text last week…

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

For Paul, what was needed for unity to happen was nothing fancy.

It was simple.

It was an essential understanding of the cross.

And this is exactly what had fallen apart.

Theologically, that is, their beliefs and studies about God, had become inaccurate.

So…

3. In today’s passage, we discover that cross is the powerful dividing line of belief (18).

Paul writes…

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Paul discovered that the Corinthians, sensing the shame and humiliation that accompanies the cross, had decided to move beyond it.

In their typical Greek way of thinking, which was very intellectual and dependent on human wisdom, they reasoned that it was now time to leave the cross behind and move on to higher things.

But Paul will have none of this.

For to abandon the cross is to abandon Christ.

The cross is absolutely fundamental to one’s understanding of God and His work of salvation.

And what the Corinthians show is that the church is persistently in danger of diluting the truth about the cross in order to make the message sound more palatable to the general public.

So we must understand this…

The cross is the dividing line in history.

The word of the cross, that is, the message of God’s plan and provision for man’s deliverance, speaks to the historic turning point of the ages.

For the cross defines that there are only two kinds of people in the word.

There are those that are being saved.

And there are those that are perishing.

There is no neutral ground.

Now to those that are perishing, the cross seems foolish.

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